If you have attended a Jumpstart Writing Workshop, you may have heard me say, “There are two kinds of writing I like. One is when the writing speaks to universal truths—something we can all relate to. The other is when the writing speaks to me personally.” This excerpt from “The Review Rat Race,” a “5-Minute Memoir” by Barbara Solomon Josselsohn expands upon that thought. “To me, success meant having readers who felt that my novel articulated something important, something they had felt deeply inside but had never been able to express or fully understand before my book came along.” —Barbara Solomon Josselsohn * That often happens in Jumpstart . . . the writing touches us deeply as the writer articulates in ways that we hadn’t been able to express or understand prior to hearing their freewrite. * Excerpt from January 2017 issue of Writer’s Digest Magazine.
“The bigger the issue, the smaller you write. Remember that. You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying on the road. You pick the smallest manageable part of the big thing, and you work off the resonance.” —Richard Price
Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. —Anne Lamott, Salon, April 10, 2015
“All humans understand and use story on an intuitive level. It’s our most effective teaching tool.” — Deb Norton, “Story Structure, Simplified,” WritersDigest, February 2017
What makes a happy reader? Robert Keiner answers, “It’s all about being invited in by the writer. If a writer begins showing off with obscure or precious writing, that gets in the readers’ way. . . The job of the writer is to ignite a fictional daydream in the brain of the reader and then step away and become invisible so the story becomes the readers’ own.” — WritersDigest, February 2017
“Forgiveness liberates the soul,” Mandela explained to a crowd. “That’s why it’s such a powerful weapon.” The movie “Invictus,” featuring Matt Damon, Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman is about Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison. After he was released and elected as South Africa’s first black president, he preached reconciliation. When he decided to support the country’s rugby team — long a symbol of white oppression — his countrymen were stunned. “Forgiveness liberates the soul,” Mandela explained to a crowd. “That’s why it’s such a powerful weapon.” When writing, especially freewrites, you may experience epiphanies that will enlighten and inform you. Best wishes to you as you write. Just write.
Helen Sedwick, author of Coyote Winds, believes “Memoirists are the bravest of writers.” “In exploring the journeys of their lives, they [memoirists] delve into the private (and imperfect) lives of others. Can a memoirist write about surviving abuse without getting sued by her abuser? Can a soldier write about war crimes without risking a court-martial? Helen answers these questions in her guest blog post “A Memoir is not a Voodoo Doll.” We lead rich lives, most of us. Rich in experiences, in friendships, in family, and in our work. I think you can find riches to write about. So, whatchya waitin’ for? Start writing. And don’t worry about a thing. Just write.
Poet Mary Oliver was born in 1935 in Maple Heights, Ohio. She had an unhappy childhood and spent most of her time outside, wandering around the woods, reading and writing poems. From the time she was young, she knew that writers didn’t make very much money, so she sat down and made a list of all the things in life she would never be able to have — a nice car, fancy clothes, and eating out at expensive restaurants. But Mary decided she wanted to be a poet anyway. Mary tried college, but dropped out. She made a pilgrimage to visit Edna St. Vincent Millay’s 800-acre estate in Austerlitz, New York. The poet had been dead for several years, but Millay’s sister Norma lived there. Mary and Norma hit it off, and Mary lived there for years, helping out on the estate, keeping Norma company, and working on her own…
“Life will go on as long as there is someone to sing, to dance, to tell stories and to listen.” —Oren Lyons Share your story at: StoryShelter, “a free service that lets you write down the personal stories of your life, save them and selectively share them. StoryShelter was founded in 2012 by Melisa Singh.”
“If we write about our pain, we heal gradually, instead of feeling powerless and confused, and we move to a position of wisdom and power.” — Writing As A Way of Healing by Louise DeSalvo